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View Full Version : Secured Wireless Networks, do they have to be closed?


BeoVir
Nov 15, 2004, 08:32 AM
The topic of securing a wireless network has come up recently (thread (http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=97370
)). Do we really need to secure our wireless networks behind an iron curtain of encryption, passwords, and filters?

Obviously we all have data we wish to protect and obviously there are institutions that we want to stay secure, i.e. banks, but allowing/providing a free and open connection to the internet has many points in its favor. While I'm no expert on societies and information theory I believe that access to infomation and the ability to communicate that infomation to others have been the two main forces in many of our societies greatest cultural changes, i.e. Gutenberg and his printing-press. If we all close down our networks and allow only a select few to access the internet through our payed connections then arn't we doing our communities a disservice? I understand that we pay $50+ dollars a month for broadband for its speed and that we don't want to let "scum" users waste our bandwidth but there must be a way to secure our systems while allowing a "bandwidth-managed" connection to the internet.

I am just curious as to how the macrumors community feels about this topic and also if anyone has any ideas on how to have a secure network that protects our data and our bandwidth while still providing an open connections for the passerby to get online.

Westside guy
Nov 15, 2004, 09:32 AM
Methinks your use of the word "secured" in the topic title was rather misleading. :D What you seem to mean is, "how can I leave my access point open without totally screwing over my personal use of the bandwidth?"

And, as an addendum, you might want to add "How can I leave my access point open while not violating the terms of use agreement I signed when I set up my broadband account?"

Jaz
Nov 15, 2004, 09:45 AM
I am just curious as to how the macrumors community feels about this topic and also if anyone has any ideas on how to have a secure network that protects our data and our bandwidth while still providing an open connections for the passerby to get online.

As one of the posters in that thread on how to secure the network I am conflicted by your question.

It is possible to secure the ports while still allowing casual access for web and email. That would achieve the outcome you describe in part. But it's been tried and often fails.

I guess that open access is a positive and altruistic notion but too often becomes unworkable because of abuse or oversubscription or even neglect. It needs a solid attitude change rather than a technical solution. College campus' are always a good trial for this sort of thing. So far most trials have started wide open but then are gradually locked down because of bad users.

For me the reason to lockdown is commercial. My company network, while fast and able to easily serve people outside my premises, is for commercial use and as such I don't want ANYONE else on it for privacy and competitive reasons. As such I lock it down with SPI firewalls, Access Control, WPA and strong passwords.

Open access would be nice, but for now bad users are the problem, and generally a fatal one. It's a sad fact that we now have terms like "wardriving" and "leeches" to describe small but bothersome sections & practices of the tech community.

timnosenzo
Nov 15, 2004, 10:01 AM
The sad fact of the matter is that there are a lot of people out there with bad intentions. I don't pretend to be a security expert, so anything I can do to my wireless network to make it more secure and to keep some bored whiz kid from snooping around on my little network I'm going to do. It sucks that we have to worry about that kind of thing, but the possibility exists.